While plans existed for the typical snow day and students schoolwide were accustomed to using their iPads to manage course materials and access online textbooks, BGA knew a move from in-class instruction to at-home virtual instruction would be a paradigm shift. Simply posting work online for students to complete, “flipping classrooms” and providing links to instructional videos, or trying to adhere to a daily schedule whereby students “attend” six classes a day is neither feasible, sustainable, nor healthy from the perspective of screen time. Nor does it account for the reality that teachers are operating from home while simultaneously managing their own families.
Addressing these challenges while maintaining fidelity with our inquiry-based, student-centered educational philosophy led us to develop “BGA eLearning.” Defining our approach as “eLearning” was intentional. “Remote learning,” “distance learning,” or “virtual school” all imply either an accepted element of separation or a degree of inauthenticity. If anything, the Battle Ground Academy educational experience is defined by authentic connections between our students, faculty, staff, and parents. Our decision to hold all classes, including fine arts and wellness, reflects our commitment to nurturing these relationships and educating the whole child.
By no means is BGA eLearning the only approach, nor is it comparable to the vibrant school environment that exists in our traditional setting, but through the commitment of students and teachers, our relational foundation is solid and our eLearning program is off to a great start.